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A Brief Introduction into Noam Chomsky Language Theory

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Noam Chomsky is an American linguist and philosopher and a founder of the field of cognitive science. He has a nature theory that children are prewired for the development of language, and the environment in which they live triggers its emergence. According to Chomsky children are able to learn language through an innate biological ability. Language is innate and is evolve with little instructions. For instead many theorists believe that social language skills were developed by watching and listening their parents or other people in the environment. 

From the point of view of the development and socialization of language, language is necessary not only with adults but also with other children. At the age of three to five years that children go through a huge linguistic development, their vocabulary expands significantly and sentences become more complex. In preschool, children have many opportunities for discussions, answers to teachers’ questions during activities, singing songs or reading books or learning rhymes. Preschool teachers can also help the child develop a language by not trying to dominate the conversation, teaching them new words and asking questions that require answers. The child’s cognitive abilities are improved by the child engaging in activities that require asking questions and thinking about problems. 

Chomsky stated that we must be born with language acquisition device (LAD), and must be stimulated first in order to start learn the language. It is not necessary to correct mistakes by adults / teachers. The child will repair himself after a while. Language acquisition is not a cognitive process, so the role of the adult as a leader of learning is radically limited. When children get older after the age of 12 LAD starts to wane and fluency is practically impossible. Here is one example supporting Chomsky’s theory. Many of us are familiar with story of Genie (her name is not real) a girl who was strapped to a potty chair for 13 years and locked in a bedroom without speaking, communicating with anyone. Genie underwent many therapies but in spite of everything she failed to develop and master the language. 

His theory thus confirmed that children learn from the nature environment. Chomsky’s theory also tells us that grammar is built into our brains from birth, that children are learning not only words but also grammar no matter what language we speak.

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